September 01, 2021
We all know there is nothing worse than an unforeseen disaster, especially with uncertain consequences. Given the rigorous and brutal nature of the mountain terrain, it's not uncommon to feel at their mercy. As a result, it often pays to expect the unexpected. If the elements or your gear decide to throw a wrench in your plans, it always pays to have a plan and tool to fix the issue.
Before you hop on the saddle or even leave the house, knowing what essentials to bring along for the ride is crucial. To develop a healthy mindset of preparedness, always assess the weather conditions before your ride. Dress according to the forecast and always bring an extra item or two along. It’s never a bad idea to keep a few extra accessories in your car like socks, gloves, and glasses in addition to a comprehensive tool kit. You never know when that thing might come in handy.
Whether you're planning a leisurely afternoon ride or an all-day adventure, consider adding the following items to your ride essentials kit to avoid whatever obstacles may encounter:
Bring a packable light snack on every ride. You never know when you're going to need some quick calories. We recommend 100-150 calories of carbohydrate every hour for rides over an hour and a half. Bring food that you'll look forward to eating while riding like the Scratch Labs crispy rice cake!
Multitools a necessity for every rider. Finding the perfect tool can be quite the task with the diversity of options. We run the F15 from Crankbrothers due to its minimalist style but managing to have all the requirements hex wrenches, chain tool, and of course a bottle opener. I always carry my trusty Leatherman Signal for the purpose of having a good pair of pliers. I've used these plenty of times to pull objects out of my tires or grabbing tough to reach cables. Oh, and it also has a bottle opener because why not carry two?
Even when running tubeless tires it's always smart to carry an innertube on your rides. The Tubolito series of inner tubes are extremely packable and lightweight. For tire levers, i've always run Pedros because they're easily accessible and don't scratch up your rim when removing the tire.
Put together a patch repair kit before you head off on next adventure. In my kit I keep a variety of patches, extra Dynaplugs, glue, small piece of sander paper, tubeless valve, file, and a few dollars. Dynaplugs work on most punctures and make for a quick and easy fix. My secret weapon is Gorilla Glue & Tape. This stuff has gotten me out of some pretty tuff spots. If patch glue isn't cutting it, try caking on some gorilla glue and it'll get you back to the trail head. When Pro tip, a USD dollar makes a great patch if ever in a pinch!
Co2 is a great lightweight option for tire inflation. For mtb, carry a 25 gram cartridge at minimum and never forget to bring an adapter. Co2 can be inconsistent at times, that's why I always carry a hand pump. I run the OneUp EDC Pump due to it's simplicity and the fact that you can stash items inside the pump. This is where I carry my zip ties, extra bacon strips, and at times a multitool. OneUp makes many fantastic options for ways to carry gear inside their EDC pump.
I can't even count how many times a simple Zip Tie or Voile Strap has gotten me out of a sticky situation. These two items take up such little space but can provide a vast amount of solutions to brakes with a bit of creativity and elbow grease!
Breaking a chain can be a day-ender without the right tools. A simple chain tool and some master links can get you back on the trail in a matter of minutes. The Wolf Tooh Pack Pliers work great for breaking or setting your master link. They also can hold two master links inside the tool. Do your research and know how to do simple chain repairs before going out on long rides. When doing long distance rides in dusty conditions, I always bring a very small bottle of Chain Lube out on the trail. It helps keep my bike silent and helps the chain from snapping. A clean chain is a happy bike!
Let your friends, family, or parter know where you are going before you start you ride. Your phone will be able to get you out of most situations. If entering the backcountry or an area without cell service be sure to bring a method to contact someone incase of an emergency. Cash, card, and ID you should never leave without. Be prepared!
Find a way to pack all these items that we listed. I usually run this Rapha hip-pack. I chose this bag because of the elastic bands inside the main pocket that helps your stuff from rattling around while riding. You can also pack an extra two water bottles on the outside of the pack. The top elastic band easily holds a lightweight rain jacket as well. There are tons of great options that will fit any need when it comes to bags to carry your gear on a bike.
This list above was developed in a way that ensures you are carrying the most essential items required for both that afternoon of adventure or an all-day ride. While you could go weeks or months without the need for your emergency trail kit, when the day of an unforeseen accident arises, you'll be the one prepared to keep on. Like any other outdoor adventure, always plan ahead and ask yourself some important questions like: How close will I be to civilization? Is there cell service? or, What are the chances someone would find me?
More than that, and if you ride alone, make sure to carry a piece of ID, phone, a whistle, and of course, a first aid kit. While no one expects or wishes to fall down a ravine and break a leg, the noise of a whistle or first aid kit could make the difference between necessary help and hours of painfully agonizing pain and distress.
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